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Monday, 6 April 2020


Read the previous part here

'Why aren't you married yet?' Vinay asked.
'That is because I am yet to meet a man like you.' She replied.
Viany was stunned by her reply.

Vinay's face had flushed with embarrassment. She pursed her lips, desperately trying to control her laughter. Dressed in blue plasso pants and white T-shirt that accentuated her curves, she had accompanied him on his morning walk.

Seeing his blanched face she said, 'Come on Vinay! I was joking. You are my sister's husband. How can I hit upon you.' Having said that she looked at the greenish-blue mountain ranges that dotted the horizon and added, 'Having said that I would love to marry a man like you. Nisha moistened her rosy lips with her tongue.

Vinay stared at her while she did so. Her deep blue eyes caught him do so and she stared back at him point black. An embarrassed Vinay looked at the tree tops and avoided an eye contact.

Nisha continued, 'I mean I wish to marry a man who would retire early. Come on, life is to be enjoyed as well, and that is the reason why I am here.'
'To marry?' Vinay asked.
'No, to enjoy life. I have taken leave for a month, and will be living with you for a month in this gorgeous place on the earth. The picturesque valley, dense vegetation dotting the roads, pure air and the morning mist - I am enchanted.'

'The weather is good today, isn't it?' Vinay said.
'It is Vinay. Didn't you notice how long it took me to convince Di that the morning mist isn't bad for health. It was only when I reminded of my medical degree that she conceded.'
'Is it really not bad for health?' Vinay quizzed.
'It is... but...'
'I wanted to spend some more time with you. I love your company. I agree Di is my elder sister, but she thinks I am still that five years old girl. She keeps on reeling out instructions Nishu do this, Nishu don't do that. That suffocates me Vinay. After Maa's demise she feels I am her responsibility. I agree. But I am a grown up now.'
'Don't worry. I will speak to her.' Vinay said standing akimbo and arching his back.

'Please don't do that. If she comes to know that I have told you about this, then I am finished.' She said and moved an imaginary dagger across her throat. Both of them had a good laughter.

Sulabha was loving and carying. No doubt about that. But she wasn't fun loving like Nisha. Though Vinay didn't have much funny bones in his system either, he didn't disapprove fun the way Sulabha did. 'She is of those yeh bechara kam ke boj ka mara serious types.' Nisha had said.

This was the first time Vinay was getting to know Nisha better. At the time of his marriage he was working in the US. He was struggling with his work and Nisha was burdened with her studies. He remembered once she had told Sulabha over the phone that MBBS demands blood. Sulabha had narrated the line to him with a creased forehead and had described her sister as a weirdo. 'That is what happens when you are the youngest child in the family.' She had added.

While in the US, Vinay visited India very few times, and Nisha who was studying in the hostel never had a chance to visit the US. They had very limited interactions until and then and that was the reason he hadn't discovered her funny side yet. But the little that he had seen of Nisha for the past two days, he had come to know that she was very different from Sulabha and would make a great company too. They shared similar tastes and likings.

'Let us sit here for a while,' Nisha said and before Vinay could reply she sat on the rock, crossed her legs and closed her eyes. 'If there is any heaven on the earth, it is here. It is here. It is here' She said hysterically.
Nisha had brought a breeze of liveliness in the house. Now there was mirth in the air. Her voice tinkeled like the chandelier which she had brought for the couple.

Sulabha had a frown on her face on seeing the chandelier. 'Chandelier. Why did you buy such an expensive gift? How many times have I told you that don't squander your hard earned money like this. Save something for your marriage.'

'Di, chill. You have bought a new house and I got this present for you because I felt like buying it and it is not that expensive. Moreover, the shop from which I got this has a no returns policy. So there is no way I will be getting this back.'

Sulabha didn't speak a word. There was an errie silence in the air. So Vinay said, 'It is so beautiful. Moreover, whenever it tinkles we will be reminded of your chirpy voice'
'Vinay, I never knew you would mouth such cheesy lines.' Nisha said with a gaping mouth.
'Yes, the fever has made him romantic.' Sulabha said.
'What is she talking about?' Nisha asked.
'Nothing,' Vinay said. Fortunately Nisha received a call on her mobile and the topic ended there.

Nisha and Vinay gaggled at each other's jokes. Sulabha who would busy most of the time in the kitchen, cooking as per Nisha's demands too seemed enjoy them. Though it is another story that she never wholeheartedly appreciated them and joined their laughter. 'Her lips simply move one centimeter apart' Nisha would say.
'Don't say that you will go in a month. I have to stay here for the entire life.'
'Vinay, you are counting my days. So bad.' She said and threw a pillow at him.
'Who is counting what?' Sulabha said as she brought the fresh batch of the pakodas.
'Nothing Di. We are having a pakoda eating competition. You make the best pakodas in the world. If you do it on commercial basis, then I am sure you would throw all those Rajasthan Bikaner shops out of business.'

Sulabha ran her hand on Nisha's head and said, 'Nishu beta eat to your heart's content. Now I am your mother.' Sulabha returned to the kitchen. Vinay had heard her sigh.
'Don't worry. She is missing Maa. She is of those senti types.' Nisha said.

The trio would play cards in the evening and would have a sit down dinner – a reminder of the good old times. 'Sitting cross legged while eating increases the blood flow towards the stomach and aids in digestion.' Nisha said.
That night after they had dinner the trio were chitchatting in the porch. Nisha said, 'Di, you remember as children we used to visit Mama's haveli in Devlali. I don't know why but for some strange reasons, this house reminds me of that haveli.'
Sulabha immediately disagreed and said, 'I don't see any similarities. Devlali reminds me of mangoes. They were sweet and delicious. I haven't tasted mangoes like that anywhere else.' Sulabha closed her eyes and was lost in the fragrance of those bright yellow, juicy mangoes.
'I was wary of visiting the mango grove. I had seen a ghost there.' Nisha said.
Read the next part here
Read my short read My Spiritual Journey 

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